ST. ALBANS — Two dogs, allegedly abused and neglected by their owners and seized from a camper in Richford on Dec. 16, are slowly healing, according to Adam Fitzgerald, president of the Franklin County Humane Society (FCHS).

The adult mixed-breed dogs, one female and one male, had been left without water in the unheated recreational vehicle, said police.

In response to a tip, Vermont State Police went to the property and seized the dogs from Randall Sheperd, 52, and Casey Sheperd, 19, both of whom were arrested and charged with animal cruelty.

Police described the dogs as emaciated and needing immediate  medical attention. Temperatures were in the single digits when the animals were found, said police.

“The male probable wouldn’t have lasted 24 hours,” said Fitzgerald. That dog was so weak he could not use his rear legs. He had crawled into a small cubby and was unable to leave it, because of his weakened condition. “He was so weak he couldn’t even pull himself out,” said Fitzgerald.

Pressure sores on his hip, caused by his inability to stand are slowly healing, said Fitzgerald of the male dog.

The dogs spent two days at a veterinary clinic before being transferred to FCHS.

The female had given birth sometime in the fall, but there was no evidence of puppies at the site. It’s unknown if the owners were selling puppies, said Fitzgerald.

Since being transferred to FCHS care, each of the dogs has gained seven pounds.

Photos from the seizure show animals so thin each of their ribs are visible.

Fitzgerald said he has been told the Sheperds have other dogs. However, police had a warrant to search only the Sheperds’ camper not the residence.